Menorah in the D kicks off 1st night of Hanukkah with increased security downtown

It is a celebration of light Thursday night in downtown Detroit. Thousands of people are kicking off the first night of Hanukkah at Campus Martius Park at the annual Menorah in the D.

But there is an underlying concern with everything going on right now overseas in this celebration, amid the Israel and Hamas war. Detroit police have promised that security will be top of mind, more than ever.

"While there are dark forces trying to intimidate, to isolate, even to eliminate, Jewish people – Jewish people are responding with light all over the word," one attendee said. "With prayers, with goodness, with mitzvahs."

Mitzvah is Hebrew for "good deed."

Security has been stepped up around the stage both in uniform and out of uniform.

There were about a dozen protestors calling for a cease-fire outside the event, but they remained peaceful without disrupting the proceedings.

Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov, from Chabad Lubavitch of Michigan, was asked about some of the tension in the air this holiday season amid the war overseas.

"Sometimes you come across challenges, you come across darkness, that's what Hannukah is,"  Shemtov said. "We wait for it to become nightfall and then we light a candle because we have the power of the candle. Everyone deep inside them, has the power of the soul - which is to bring light into this world. We can all do that."

Despite the air of concern for what is happening in the world, Menorah in the D attendees are bringing the spirit of community and holiday cheer downtown.

For more information on Menorah in the D, GO HERE for the website.